HELP! This beautiful 5 year-old building has been sitting vacant in a community falling slowly into blight due to all the abandoned commercial properties and vacant lots.
My name is Reenah Golden and I am the Founder/Artistic Director of the new Avenue Blackbox Theatre located at 780 Joseph Avenue in Rochester, NY. I grew up in this neighborhood and I made it out despite it's statistics of housing the country's most at-risk youth per capita under the age of 14 in the state.
(5 year-old Reenah and my big sis, both drama queens from birth ;)
Here in Rochester there is a tale of two cities; one is a vibrant, culture and arts-rich, craft beer and foodie town and one is culture-rich but art-starved where families struggling below or at the poverty line don't bother to even dream of a subscription to an arts institution out of their budget range. It's unimaginable these invisible lines separating people from art and creativity in their lives could even exist especially seeing that they have two important resources in common; PEOPLE and the culture they bring with them.
I knew I would come back to this neighborhood someday and the timing couldn't be better! I'm soooo ready to provide the artistic direction, blood and sweat needed to make this happen that I can taste it! When we open our doors on June 7th we will provide year-round FREE THEATER FOR KIDS, address-based sliding scale membership, music and drama workshops, theatre tech training and more.
Here's what we've been able to accomplish so far and why we need your help:
- We have secured a $1 lease on this beautiful building for two years and a host of dedicated community partners interested in seeing something amazing happen at 780 Joseph Avenue.
- We raised the first $15,000 of our 30K goal with word of mouth and private donors who endorsed this project. Those friends even asked their friends to give gifts and they did!
- We have raised over $63,000 in-kind for renovations, construction of an additional wheel-chair accessible bathroom, painting, electrical re-wiring, more painting, light carpentry and more! Now we need your help to get the rest of the way.
AND here's the thing...
- We have to make this happen by Fall 2018 Opening Season to show our generous donors that this is a worthy investment in the community.
- Plus, our noDrama summer program serving youth ages 10-15 and apprentices 16 and up begins July 9th and we need theatre tech for their training and certification.
- Plus, our opening is scheduled for June 7th beginning with a ribbon cutting with our Mayor Lovely A. Warren!
AND THEN, the real fun begins! Several local performing artists have donated performances for opening weekend so that we can hit the ground running with free shows and open house events for the community. Please help us buy chairs, risers, a fire-safe curtain, toilet & sink, box office technology, projector, custom-built storage, lighting and a sound system to transform this gorgeous, empty building into something that neighbors can be proud of. It would mean the world to me, the volunteers and the young people who are already fundraising and donating their time!
ALSO, If you are in the Rochester or western NY region PLEASE COME TO OUR GRAND OPENING WEEKEND JUNE 7-11 because -- we already know we're going to do this!
(Oh and we'd love to show you love with rewards but remember you can remain anonymous also! Plus, all rewards can be transferred to a neighborhood family if you are unable to attend.)
We are beginning to withdraw and purchase the finishing touches and want to make sure you're in the loop on what we're doing and when!
PHASE 1 FINISHING ITEMS/SCHEDULE:
Phase 1 completion to open as a fully functional facility certified by NYS to function as a place of assembly:
- Stage lighting rig $750 (began 5/23, to be completed 5/30)
- Sound system $1200 (purchasing from Applied Audio -shop local!)
- Mandated additional WC accessible bathroom $3150 (5/29 -5/31)
- House & back hallway lighting $400 (purchasing 5/30-31 for 6/1 installation)
- Projector and wiring $600 (purchasing 5/30, to be installed 6/1)
- Custom blackout window coverings $1200 (tbd)
- Lobby/Box office system, counters, benches, lighting $2000 (tbd)
- Finish storage & dressing room; storage, shelves, counters, paint, seating $2000 (tbd)
- Seat risers & remaining chairs $4000 (tbd)
If we go over our goal (*FINGERS CROSSED), after opening weekend we will put it toward:
- Construction of control booth above green room overlooking stage ($8000)
- Window display case and lobby monitors ($500)
- A smart classroom ($1,500)
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! LET'S #FINISHTHEAVENUE!